The opinions of a Central Florida Home Inspector on home inspection related issues and topics. Residential Home Inspections, Four Point Insurance Inspections, Wind Mitigation Inspections, and safety concerns found in Deltona homes. Inspections from Orlando to Daytona Beach.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Dangers of Aluminum Solid Branch Wiring
Due to a shortage of copper in the mid-1960s, builders increased
the use of aluminum wire in residential electrical distribution systems.Homes
built before 1965 are unlikely to have aluminum branch circuit wiring. Homes built, remodeled or with electrical upgrades
from 1965 to the mid-1970s may contain aluminum wiring.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff and other government Officials
have investigated numerous hazardous incidents and fires throughout the nation involving
aluminum branch circuit wiring.The Franklin
Research Institute conducted a national survey for the CPSC.The survey showed that homes built before
1972, and wired with aluminum, are 55 timesmore
likely to have one or more wire connections at outlets that reach “Fire Hazard
Conditions” than homes with copper wire.
The fire hazard investigated by CPSC occurs at connections
with aluminum wire, including receptacles or switches and junction boxes; or
the hazards occur with major appliances, including dishwashers or furnaces, for
example. There are several deterioration processes in aluminum wire connections
that cause increased resistance to the flow of electric current, resulting in
damage that is cumulative in effect. That increased resistance causes
overheating, sometimes at hazardous levels, when current is flowing in the
Signs of electrical system problems include receptacles or switches
with face plates that are hot-to-the touch; inoperable circuits; flickering
lights; or the smell of burning plastic at outlets or switches.
Aluminum wiring can be replaced or repaired to effectively
and permanently reduce the possibility of fire and injury due to failing wire
connections and splices. It is highly recommended that you hire a qualified
electrician, familiar with aluminum solid branch wiring, to perform this remediation.
Replacement of the aluminum branch circuit conductors with
copper wire eliminates the primary cause of the potential hazards, the aluminum
wire itself. Depending on the
architectural style of your home, it may be relatively easy for a qualified
electrician to rewire your home. A new
copper wire branch circuit system would be installed, and the existing aluminum
wire could be abandoned inside the walls. This is the best method available;
but for many homes, rewiring with copper is impractical and/or prohibitively
Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.
Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and
building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest
standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector
and that is exactly what we provide.